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Hyundai and Kia, the South Korean car makers, have moved to support UK car manufacturing by pledging to invest more than €100m to advance new electric vehicles in the UK.
On Wednesday, Hyundai said it would supply the UK government with independent electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It will launch chargers next year at 12 of its 11 UK sites.
Its UK partner, Kia Motors, also confirmed it would build a plant to produce electric, hydrogen fuel cell and extended range electric vehicles for Europe, Russia and the Far East.
The investments come as the government and the UK car industry look for ways to continue to grow. Unemployment has fallen, but the auto industry says it needs new investment from BMW, Honda and Jaguar Land Rover, among others, to bring its total production capacity closer to demand.
Car exports account for 20 per cent of UK manufacturing, which also needs to adapt to new technological developments. A diesel ban in London was followed by a wider diesel scrappage scheme, which proved ineffective.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the investments by Hyundai and Kia demonstrate “the sound business case for local production”. The additional spending demonstrates “a commitment to British manufacturing”, he added.